TV MR Georgia, the company measuring ratings of TV channels in Georgia, has been fined with 800 GEL by the Revenue Service of Georgia. The company says that was the result of the company's refusal to disclose the information about families participating in the monitoring of TV ratings.
The lawyer of the company, Ketevan Kvartskhava, has said that representatives of the Revenue Service provided the TV MR Georgia with a decree about conducting the inspection of the company for the period from 1 April 2013 to 21 February 2014, however, in reality they wanted to get the list of those families where people meters that measure TV ratings are installed. The lawyer said that the company supplied the Revenue Service with serial numbers of routers which are necessary for the measurement of ratings, but the information about whereabouts of people meters is confidential.
Gocha Tskitishvili, the founder of IPM (the Institute for Polling and Marketing) and partner of TV MR Georgia, told journalists that the inspection of the company pursues the only aim – to get hold of confidential lists. According to him, three weeks ago one of Georgian TV companies, which despite spent amounts have a low rating, demanded from him the disclosure of strictly confidential information about the whereabouts of people meters used to measure TV ratings. Following this demand, the Finance Ministry's investigative unit entered the company.
"About three weeks ago one of TV channels got in touch with me and asked for a private meeting. During that private meeting I was asked to hand them over the list [of families where people meters are installed]. I explained to them that I do not have access to that list and the list will not be of any use to them," Tskitishvili said.
According to Tskitishvili, representatives of the TV company told him that they wanted the list of families because the TV has low rating even though large amounts have been spent in it.
"I will recount everything according to what kind of decision will these people take. They exerted pressure on the director of the company during three hours, the director told me in secret about that and he will write all this in a press release – how he was forced to sign a protocol by four representatives of the Revenue Service and what kind of pressure was exerted on him. They tried to get these lists with my help but they received two qualified answers from me: first, that they refrain from ever making such unethical offer otherwise they will get a response of a person who has self esteem, and second, that only unprepared, ignorant person tries to get hold of those lists because there is no possibility of using them. However, there is a possibility to harm a private company by using those lists," Tskitishvili said.
TV MR Georgia LLC is the only company measuring TV ratings in Georgia. Consequently, the advertising market in Georgia totally depends on that.